Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews #Thriller John W. Howell, #Murder Mystery Barbara Silkstone, #Mystery Stevie Turner


Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first review today is for His Revenge (Book Two of the John Cannon Trilogy) by John W. Howell.

About the book

America loves John Cannon, its newest hero, and the President wants to present him with the highest civilian medal for bravery for saving the Annapolis midshipman from a terrorist plot to destroy them. While in Washington for the award ceremony, John unwillingly becomes an accomplice in another plan by the same group to attack the credibility of the US President and the stability of the worldwide oil market. There is no way out as John either becomes a traitor to America or causes thousands of innocent people to die if he refuses.
The second John J Cannon Thriller moves from a barrier Island off the coast of Texas to Washington DC, then to Northern California, and finally to Ecuador. John is on the receiving end of an offer he cannot refuse. His avowed enemy Matt Jacobs now wants John to help him shake the reputation of the US in the world political arena. If John refuses, Matt plans to murder innocent Americans including John’s latest relationship. John’s only way out is to pretend to go along with the plan and hope for a miracle. An excellent holiday read.

A recent review for the book

D. W. Peach 4.0 out of 5 stars  A great character and clever plot  Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2020

His Revenge follows on the heels of the previous book, My GRL. I had fun revisiting a great character, John Cannon, an ordinary nice guy forced into the role of a hero. He’s once again kidnapped and trying to outwit the terrorist mastermind plotting to create havoc in the US. I do recommend reading the books in order, even though the author provides adequate backstory to get the gist of what previously happened.

There’s plenty of action and danger, though less than in the first book. The pace starts out a touch slow, but when it picks up, it charges ahead. John isn’t a macho, gun-toting character, and the solutions to his problems rely more on his wits and a clever plan, along with some strongly developed allies that added depth to the story. The characters face some tough choices that will make the reader squirm.

The bad guys are quite diabolical, heartless, and seemed to cover every base. But they also struck me as a touch gullible, especially since they’ve been outwitted by John before. That said, the rationale backing up the plot is detailed and the solution well-crafted. The writing is professional, the dialog and characterization excellent. I’ll be reading more of John Cannon in the future.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by John W. Howell.

Read the reviews and buy John’s books: Amazon US

and on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow John: Goodreads

Connect to John via his blog: John W. Howell. com

The next author is Barbara Silkstone with a recent review for Smokey Eyes (Cold Cream Murders book 2)..

SMOKEY EYES: COLD CREAM MURDERS - BOOK 2 by [Barbara Silkstone]

About the book
Olive and Lizzy’s Cold Cream shop on the beach is jumping—business couldn’t be better. But when land shark mogul Brent Toast is found floating in the Starfish Cove marina, with his sneer-side up and a knife in his chest, the prime suspect—among his many enemies—is his brassy daughter-in-law. Can Olive & Lizzy save their friend or will this be the end of the Loud Mouth of the South?

Contains a recipe for Olive & Lizzy’s Smokey Eye Shadow

~~~
A series of quirky murders plague Olive Peroni and her Cold Cream shop partner. A psychologist by training and a miracle cold cream designer by luck, Olive leaves her family practice to start a new life in Starfish Cove, Florida. The gals make designer creams for ladies who spend far too much time at the beach. Business is brisk and life is good until bodies start popping and dropping—and Olive must rely on her people skills to separate the killers from their victims.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jul 04, 2020 D.G. Kaye rated it Five Stars it was amazing

Olive isn’t a cop, but once again finds herself involved in a case that Chief Officer, Kal ‘Miranda’ is overseeing, and somehow inserts herself once again, as part of the investigation. With such colorful, painted characters and quick-witted dialogue, and just keeping up with Olive, this book is what I consider one of my great escape reads, offering a fun-paced story with interesting and humorously named characters, this book just takes you in to Olive’s sporadic life and keeps you engaged til the very end when only then we’ll learn who the killer is.

Olive has a compulsive need to help solve the crimes she stumbles into at Starfish Cove. Her people skills from being a psychotherapist come in awfully handy when it comes to analyzing suspects.

The story begins with the disembarking of passengers off Nancy’s boat, The Very Crabby, where Olive and Lizzie were attending a get-together with a few friends and unsuspecting characters. Lizzie is afraid of water, she doesn’t like getting her face wet, and sure enough in the kerfuffle with the boat next door with some other friends, turns out the boat owner Brent was just murdered and thrown in the water by someone on Nancy’s boat. Maybe? In the midst of it all, Olive gets thrown overboard and comes face-to-face with the killer underwater – only when it comes to identifying him, all she could see were a pair of smokey eyes in a foggy mist. Now, Olive is concerned that maybe the killer may not be done with her – and he’s not! Olive persists to snoop out who she thinks may have motive for killing Brent and discovers a few reasons why a few people may have wanted Brent dead. And besides being stalked by an unknown killer, Olive has to contend with other problems going on in her beauty business, like the gigolo chasing after her old Aunt Tillie who is really on a mission to steal Nonna’s secret magical cream recipe.

Never a dull moment in Olive’s life between the other little subplots in this book and the interesting and clever characters Silkstone bring to life in this witty little fun and cozy mystery. A bevy of suspects will keep you guessing whodunit til the end in this boat party gone wrong.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A small selection of books by Barbara Silkstone

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Barbara on: Goodreads

Connect to Barbara via her website: Second Act Cafe

The final author is Stevie Turner with a recent review for her mystery Finding David.

About the book

When Karen and Mick Curtis attend a demonstration of clairvoyance for the first time, Karen is singled out by the medium, Rae Cordelle. Rae has a message from Karen’s son David, who passed over to the spirit world many years before. The message shocks Karen and sends her on a journey of discovery, rocking her previously happy relationship with second husband Mick, David’s stepfather.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jul 01, 2020 Pete Springer rated it Five Stars it was amazing

What would you do if the person you are married to becomes a murder suspect? Not just any murder—one that involves her son, David. Karen faces this dilemma after Rae, a gifted clairvoyant medium, provides information that suggests that her husband, Mick, may be responsible. To complicate matters, the police sergeant refuses to offer any help after he finds out that Rae claims the deceased spirit of the boy has provided this information.

Karen has complete faith in Rae, but Mick thinks Rae is trying to swindle money with a hoax reading. Is the murderer Karen, Mick, or someone else?

Several elements made Finding David an engaging read. One appealing quality is the relationship that Mick had with David. Because neither character liked the other, this made for some fascinating family dynamics.

Stevie Turner doesn’t waste time getting right into the meat of the story. There were no lulls, and my mind did not wander at any point because the plot was gripping. Take two hours to read this excellent tale and put yourself in Karen’s shoes

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Stevie Turner

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Follow Stevie Turner on: Goodreads

Connect to Stevie via her blog: Stevie Turner on WordPress

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Mystery James J. Cudney, #Poetry Natalie Ducey, #Mystery Stevie Turner


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet James J. Cudney

James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com

What do I do outside of writing: I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have over 500 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

A recent review for Frozen Stiff Drink

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and fast paced while retaining unique family elements  Reviewed in the United States on April 12, 2020

Frozen Stiff Drink is another incredibly fast-paced and fascinating murder mystery in this great series by author, James J. Cudney. This one is even more complex as it involves three murders and a couple of close attempts so you have to pay attention and stay on your toes while reading. This book also includes a ramp up in Kellan’s relationship with law enforcer, April, despite some trials presented in the unexpected appearance of her husband, Fox Terrell, who turns out to have some unexpected relationships with the people of Wharton County, and his continued interference in her murder cases.

Kellan’s brother, Hampton, plays a bigger role in this tale and becomes involved in a lot of intrigue. He is accused of embezzlement by his father-in-law, Orin, Read, the founder of the firm where he works, and when Orin is discovered dead, Hampton is the natural suspect in the case.

Nana D, now mayor of Wharton County, but still high spirited and indefatigable in her dealings with family, friends and her constituents. Nana D goes missing during a bad snow storm and Kellan is worried about her. During his search for her he finds her car with another body inside it, but no sign of Nana D.

The story line is exciting with lots of twists and turns and the ending was clever and unexpected.

All the wonderful family elements that make this series so special are present with Kellan’s daughter, Emma, going to Disney Land with his parents and his surrogate son, Ulan. Francesca, Kellan’s on-so-dead mobster related wife who he is trying to divorce, also pops up in a threatening manner as she wants to get her hands on Emma.

James J. Cudney has a very natural style of writing and includes lots of great description in a simple and unencumbering way which does not detract from the pace of the story. I look forward to see what this author produces next.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US andAmazon UK  – Website/Blog: This is my truth nowGoodreads: James J. Cudney – Twitter: @Jamescudney4

Meet Natalie Ducey

With a BA in Psychology, Natalie has worked in the Counselling field for 15 years. Through her work and personal journey, she has witnessed the remarkable power of the human spirit. Now, as an author and poet, she is passionate about stories that touch the heart and awaken the soul. Through words, she aspires to offer solace and hope, love and understanding.

Natalie is the Co-owner and Writer of Peace by Piece Puzzles and the Owner of ND Designs.

She was born and raised in beautiful Newfoundland, Canada, with her two brothers and twin sister. She now resides in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and their little dog, Bella. She loves sailing and the freedom and serenity of being one with water. She is an avid reader, passionate writer, and seeker of tranquility along life’s mystifying journey.

One of the recent reviews for The Heart’s Lullaby

Yecheilyah 5.0 out of 5 stars Peaceful, Succinct, Honest  Reviewed in the United States on May 24, 2020

The Heart’s Lullaby is the perfect title for this lovely collection of poetry about the grace and anguish of love. From the introduction, I could tell I would enjoy this book because even the intro has a poetic language about it. Embers of Love opens this heart-warming piece and will remind you of Pablo Neruda’s If You Forget Me. Anyone who has experienced the happiness and the torment of love (and not necessarily within a romantic context) will relate to this book. The author’s voice is honest, almost as if she is speaking for all of us in words few people dares to say out loud, a peaceful and comforting truth.

I enjoyed a lot of the shorter poems. Something about the depth of a short poem makes you sit back and think intensely about the words. Some of my favorite poems are Embers of Love, Summer Nights, Memories, Blessed or Cursed, Ecstasy, To My Sister, Mended Wing, and Our Place in Time. Some of my favorite verses in this collection:

“I said goodbye a thousand times
Both in whispers and screams of rage”

“When the moonlight kissed our skin
And the winds cradled us as one.”

“You’ll never see her cry
Alone she bows her head.”

“The power of a thousand suns
Delicate as morning dew
The dawn chorus of enchantment
This is my memory of you.”

“Without greed or envy
He nourished her soul.”

Read the reviews and by the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  follow Natalie: Goodreads – Blog: Natalie Ducey  – Twitter: @NatalieDucey

Meet Stevie Turner

Stevie Turner works part time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third place in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest.

Stevie lives in the East of England, and is married with two sons and four grandchildren. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and one screenplay, ‘For the Sake of a Child’, won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. ‘A House Without Windows’ gained the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017.

Some of Stevie’s books are currently being translated into German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

A selection of Stevie’s books.

A recent review for Finding David

Anita Dawes 5.0 out of 5 stars  Well written, but disturbing story…  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 March 2020

Hoping for a message from her son David, who disappeared years ago, Karen attends a Spiritual meeting with her husband, Mick. Through the medium, Karen receives a message from her son. This message shocks her and sends her on a journey of discovery, rocking the foundations of her marriage.

Her husband Mick is not a believer in these things and aggressively refuses to believe that David blames him for his death. This was a classic misunderstanding, for Mick is David’s stepfather.

Right from the beginning, I hoped the child would be found alive. I found myself wondering what I would do in those circumstances. The message would have to be convincing, like something no one else would know, for there are many so called mediums out there who prey on the vulnerable. I don’t understand what drives people to these meetings, surely it must only bring more heartache?

It was particularly distressing to witness the destruction of Karen’s marriage, although the husband’s attitude didn’t help. The author has done a brilliant job of creating a devastating story and believable characters, sometimes a little too realistic!

The medium in this story and the story itself, are remarkable, very believable, especially the effect this discovery had on the parents of the missing child. Finding David isn’t very long, but it certainly packs a punch…

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Stevie : Goodreads  blog: Stevie Turner on WordPress – Twitter: @StevieTurner6

Thank you for joining me today for this series and I will be sharing another three authors and their work every weekday during June and July. It would be great if you could share. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews -#Mystery Stevie Turner, #Fantasy Fiona Tarr, #Memoir Pete Springer


Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore where I share recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author is Stevie Turner with a recent review for her mystery Finding David.

About the book

When Karen and Mick Curtis attend a demonstration of clairvoyance for the first time, Karen is singled out by the medium, Rae Cordelle. Rae has a message from Karen’s son David, who passed over to the spirit world many years before. The message shocks Karen and sends her on a journey of discovery, rocking her previously happy relationship with second husband Mick, David’s stepfather.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Anita Dawes 5.0 out of 5 stars  Well written, but disturbing story…  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 March 2020

Hoping for a message from her son David, who disappeared years ago, Karen attends a Spiritual meeting with her husband, Mick. Through the medium, Karen receives a message from her son. This message shocks her and sends her on a journey of discovery, rocking the foundations of her marriage.

Her husband Mick is not a believer in these things and aggressively refuses to believe that David blames him for his death. This was a classic misunderstanding, for Mick is David’s stepfather.

Right from the beginning, I hoped the child would be found alive. I found myself wondering what I would do in those circumstances. The message would have to be convincing, like something no one else would know, for there are many so called mediums out there who prey on the vulnerable. I don’t understand what drives people to these meetings, surely it must only bring more heartache?

It was particularly distressing to witness the destruction of Karen’s marriage, although the husband’s attitude didn’t help. The author has done a brilliant job of creating a devastating story and believable characters, sometimes a little too realistic!

The medium in this story and the story itself, are remarkable, very believable, especially the effect this discovery had on the parents of the missing child. Finding David isn’t very long, but it certainly packs a punch…

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Stevie Turner

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Follow Stevie Turner on: Goodreads

Connect to Stevie via her blog: Stevie Turner on WordPress

The next author is Fiona Tarr with a review for Relic Seeker (The Priestess Chronicles Book 2)

About the Book

A young time-travelling, magic wielding Priestess and her gifted friends must retrieve an ancient Goth relic before it is used to change history.

This isn’t the Priestess Ariela’s first trip through time, but now she has friends along for the journey. When she arrives, she is alone, dressed as a servant, yet surrounded by opulence. Her guide and mentor, the Angel Raziel hasn’t given her a clue about her quest and she quickly finds herself serving a deadly enemy from her past.

Ariela realises that keeping her magical powers secret isn’t going to be easy. She is being hunted by a powerful magic wielder who is determined to destroy her and change history forever. In the midst of a violent and intense battle to protect the ancient relic Brísingamen, once worn by the goddess Freya, Ariela calls upon the strengths and powers of her friends and a group of strangers.

As Ariela gathers her allies, she realises her powerful adversary isn’t the only threat. She has been betrayed by someone she thought she could trust.

Relic Seeker is book 2 in a new series by Fiona Tarr. It is fast paced and offers a great read for young adults or adults looking for a fun, quick, weekend read. If magic and time travel spark your interest, then you’ll enjoy this fun, fantasy adventure.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Laurence St. John 5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Story  Reviewed in the United States on March 19, 2020

Relic Seeker (The Priestess Chronicles) by Fiona Tarr is a great young adult and teen fantasy novel. The main characters, Ariela and Culaan, set off on a time travel adventure where the endure trials and tribulations to protect and ancient relic. What is the ancient relic Brísingamen and what powers does it possess? Can Ariela and her colleagues fulfil their quest before it’s too late? Find out…

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, teen, young adult, Myth and Legend, Fairy Tales, Historical and adventure stories.

Also by Fiona Tarr

Read all the reviews and buy the books including a box set: Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Kobo, B&N, Apple : https://books2read.com/u/bM92aB

Read more reviews and follow Fiona: Goodreads

Connect to Fiona via her website : A Time 2 Write

The final review today is for the memoir of retired teacher Pete Springer. They Call Me Mom

About the book

Who Will You Inspire Today? Teachers face this challenge and responsibility each day, but in the process, the author discovers that his students can also have a profound influence on him. Pete Springer takes you on his memorable thirty-one-year journey in education as an elementary school teacher and offers the many valuable life and teaching lessons he learned along the way. Get ready to laugh out loud at some of the humorous and memorable experiences that all teachers face, feel inspired by the inherent goodness of children, and appreciate the importance of developing a sense of teamwork among the staff.

Learn valuable tips for working with children, parents, fellow staff members, and administrators. This book is ideal for young teachers, but also a reminder to all educators of the importance and responsibility of being a role model. This book is a must-read for all new teachers and those teachers that need a reminder they are human! Mr. Springer educates others in his easy-to-read, story-like, first-hand manuscript. You will laugh, cry, and get motivated to be the best educator you can. After reading this, I have a better outlook on relationships with my colleagues and am reminded to savor every moment. -Tami Beall (Principal, Pine Hill School)

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful book Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2020

They Call Me Mom is a delightful book detailing the teaching experiences of life-long teacher, Pete Springer, in a school in a government school in the USA. This memoir is an interesting, and sometimes poignant, peek into the teaching environment and provides some memorable insights into some of the practical and emotional difficulties a teacher experiences.

Pete depicts his initial decision not to go to college and study straight after finishing school, but rather to do some unskilled jobs. These jobs did not pan out well for Pete and after returning home and working as an assistant in a special needs school, he decided to go into teaching as a profession. This was the perfect choice for him and he evolved into a caring and dedicated teacher.

Pete was fortunate to have some wonderful role models to help him develop as a professional and, I am sure, he was also a fabulous role model to new teachers coming into the system. He inspired some of his students to consider teaching as a career and that is a great achievement.

The book is filled with endearing stories about Pete’s classroom experiences with the children and the reader quickly comes to realise that there is a lot more to being a good teacher than knowing the curriculum and preparing lessons. Their is also the social and emotional side where teachers must understand the issues and problems their students are experiencing and help guide them through these difficult times. Pete had exposure to a far greater range of family backgrounds than I ever have, either during my own school career or that of my two sons. He had students whose parents worked at night, some whose parents went to jail and others who were being raised by single parents or grandparents.

This book provides a lot of guidance to teachers about how to maximize the learning environment in the classroom and this information is useful to all carers of children including parents, grandparents and others.

A lovely book and one that focuses on the important role played by teachers in raising the next generation of parents, employees and business leaders.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Connect to Pete via his website/blog: Pete Springer WordPress

Thank you for dropping by today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm..thanks Sally.